10 Odd Mysteries From Civil War Battlefields You Probably Didn’t Know 0 12

The American Civil War gave rise to numerous legends and intriguing mysteries, and many Civil War sites are thought to be haunted. Some of the most interesting mysteries from the Civil War include glowing soldiers, hidden gold, weirdly advanced photo manipulation, and the curious drafting of conjoined twins.

General Grant Photoshopped?

Library of Congress

Photoshop alterations are a given in magazines and gossip papers these days, but when this photo of General Grant surfaced it was meant to inspire troops. When experts looked at the odd photo years later it was found that Grant’s head had been spliced onto the image and was a total fake! The body actually belongs to General Alexander McCook and the horse itself was superimposed onto a scene of Confederate soldiers.

The Mysterious Army Itch


During the war, many soldiers were covered in a bad rash that became known as the army itch. There were reports of soldiers’ hands swelling up so big their fingertips couldn’t touch. The rash was a complete mystery until 2006, when experts discovered scabies caused the epidemic. The soldiers easily contracted the bugs because of poor hygienic conditions in the barracks.

Haunted Fort Monroe


Fort Monroe was a Confederate fort that is supposedly haunted today, by everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Edgar Allan Poe. The fort had thick walls and a big moat, which made it one of the only forts in the South that resisted capture. Today you can schedule ghost tours in the fort, and even top-ranking military officials have reported seeing ghosts there.

Lost Confederate Gold

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Unsurprisingly the Civil War was really expensive, so in an effort to rebuild their finances the United States government went after the Confederate treasury. But when they arrived at treasury, it was completely empty! While the gold still hasn’t been recovered, there are several theories about what happened. Some believe it was buried on a few different plantations, while others think it was stolen by deserters.

Glow-In-The-Dark Wounds


The Civil War was ripe with medical mysteries, but none were as odd as reports of soldiers with glow-in-the-dark wounds. During the war there wasn’t much medical treatment happening on the battlefields, and soldiers would often lay on the ground wounded for days before help arrived. When doctors finally came they noticed some of the men actually had glowing wounds! In 2001 a group of high school students discovered that a special bacteria that was helping hypothermic soldiers heal probably caused the reaction.

The Missing USS Keystone State

Wikipedia: Wikimedia Commons

It’s hard to imagine a big sturdy ship disappearing into thin air, but that’s exactly what people believed happened to the USS Keystone State. The ship was transporting iron and passengers across the Great Lakes and had basically nothing to do with the war. But in 2013 it was found at the bottom of Lake Huron. Some academics speculate the ship, which was way off course, was secretly delivering weapons to militia in Wisconsin.

The Confederate Flying Machine


It’s been said that necessity is the mother of all inventions, and a drive to help the Confederate army get a leg up in the war spurred dentist and inventor Finely Hunt to create plans for a steam-powered flying machine. Hunt gave the Confederate army his plans, but his lack of engineering experience prevented him from actually building the machine. However, at the time he created the plans, there were coincidentally several reports of UFOs that popped up.

Haunted Kolb’s Farm


While the Battle of Kolb’s Farm was small compared to other Civil War battles, it left behind big legends that still circulate today. The farm is thought to be haunted by a man dressed in Civil War clothing. The current residents of the farm have reported this ghost will sometimes produce cold spots in the house and tug their hair, but they coexist with him peacefully.

The Bunker Brothers

Wikipedia: Wikimedia Commons

The Bunker Brothers, Chang and Eng Bunker, were a circus sideshow called “The Original Siamese Twins.” The two traveled with museum exhibitions and in 1839 they settled down in the Confederate state North Carolina. When Union General George Stoneman raided North Carolina in 1865, he decided to draft locals and the twins’ names were placed in a draft lottery. Only one of the twins’ names were drawn, and he resisted the draft because his brother’s name was not drawn. The two didn’t end up serving in the war, but their eldest brother did end up enlisting and serving on the Confederate side.

Stonewall Jackson’s Strange Death

Wikipedia: Wikimedia Commons

Confederate general Stonewall Jackson was a bit of a strange man who died in odd circumstances. Jackson was a known hypochondriac and believed his body was out of balance. Often times he would hold one arm up in the battlefield to balance out the flood flow in his body and he usually didn’t sit because he thought it misaligned his organs. The night he died the moon was really dim and when he approached his soldiers, they open fired on him. The death was considered friendly fire, but there is also speculation of murder and conspiracy.

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11 Products Most Women Use That Were Invented By Men 0 4

For all of our recent attempts at gender neutral and equality, there are certain products that are used mostly by women.

But surprisingly, many of those were designed by particularly insightful men—who knew not just what a woman wanted, but what she needed.


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The Tampax company was run by a rather formidable lady by the name of Gertrude Tendrich.

But the patent their prime product was based on was filed by a Colorado GP, Dr. Earle Haas. He sold the patent to Gertrude when he couldn’t get women to buy his product. He also pioneered the contraceptive diaphragm (and sold the patent for that off too for similar reasons).

Sanitary Pads

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Oddly, the modern pad is derived from something created by Benjamin Franklin. Yes. That Benjamin Franklin. The $100 dollar bill Benjamin Franklin.

He initially developed multi-level absorbent pads to block up battle wounds. Within a few decades, they’d been re-purposed and re-packaged for women’s use during that time of the month.

The Birth Control Pill

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The birth control pill was developed through two collaborations of gentlemen. Drs. Gregory Pincus and John Rock usually get the credit for the first oral contraceptive.

But the one most of us take today was a group effort by chemist Carl Djerassi, Dr. George Rosenkranz and their student, Luis E. Miramontes. Birth control as a concept was, however, pioneered by ladies and men.


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Coin purses and luggage have existed in one form or another for millennia. But the first order for something more akin to the modern handbag or pocketbook was placed by a British entrepreneur during the 1840s.

Candy magnate Samuel Parkinson demanded a moderately sized traveling bag for his wife’s personal effects. London leather goods company H.J. Cave & Sons complied with his order and then used it as the basis for the first line of modern designer hand bags.

Nylon Stockings

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Cloth and silk stockings were floating around for a while—but were rather expensive luxury goods for most of their history.

But the male-run Dupont company is what made them mass producible. They quickly realized that the new nylon fabric they created would translate into ladies’ legwear and set up such successful marketing there was a post-war stocking-riot when they couldn’t keep up with demand.

The Bikini

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Two male designers both compete for the title of the creator of the modern bikini— and they are both French.

Jacques Heim and Louis Réard purportedly came up with the design at the same time in 1946.

The Thighmaster

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The Thigmaster was popularized by 70s sitcom star Suzanne Somers.

But the mastermind behind the clunky and bizarre exercise device was a gent by the name of Joshua Reynolds. Incidentally, he’s also the same guy who marketed the world mood rings.

Hair Dye

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The synthetic hair dye that’s opened up such a wide arena of natural and unnatural coloring (for women and men) was also designed by a man.

French chemist Eugène Schueller developed the first recipe, and used it as the start up example for his new company—a little thing you might have heard of called L’Oreal.

Liquid Foundation

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Most make-up only used to come in white (seriously, everyone in Queen Elizabeth’s court looked like terrifying white-faced mimes).

The first foundations were not just white, they were made up of a terrifying concoction of chemicals that burned out the skin of the lords, ladies, and performers that applied it regularly. Enter German actor Carl Baudin. He’s the guy behind flesh-toned grease-paint—the precursor to modern liquid foundation.

Face Powder

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Likewise, face powder also used to only come in one color: bright white. It wasn’t really useful for anyone but the palest of showgirls and geishas.

Early Hollywood cosmetician Max Factor grew frustrated with the lack of variability and created face powder in different skin tones. And then went on to found one of the world’s greatest cosmetics companies.


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Two other make-up magnates both technically invented mascara: one each on either side of the Atlantic.

At the same time perfumer-maker Eugene Rimmel was making mascara for his clients in Paris, American T. L. Williams created a recipe for his sister Maybel. Eugene went on to found Rimmel. And Williams and his sister created Maybelline.

11 People You Wouldn’t Believe Used To Be In The KKK 0 3

The KKK is one of few groups that is so associated with fear and hate-mongering, its own members don’t want to reveal their faces. Today, we lift that shroud of mystery to take a look at some surprising people who were members of the KKK.

Ashley Wilkes

Granted, Ashley Wilkes is a character from “Gone With the Wind” and not an actual person, but it’s still rather jarring to know that the formation of the KKK is portrayed in the famous movie. The KKK was born in the aftermath of the Civil War, in 1866. The earliest inception of the group was to protect women and other citizens from the shanty towns that sprang up all over the south once the war ended. From these lofty ideals, the group quickly devolved into an organization bent on oppression and terror. Ashley Wilkes is like a great many real white southerners who joined the organization with good intentions in mind. But that was way back in 1866.

Nathan Bedford Forrest

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To be specific, the KKK began in Tennessee. The white hoods and sheets were meant to represent the ghosts of the Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. But soon, the group was more about terrorizing blacks than it was about protecting whites. The KKK rode at night, perpetrating raids on areas where blacks lived. Nathan Bedford Forrest, former Confederate general, was in command of the KKK until 1868. He formally disbanded the group at this point, appalled by the violence of it. The KKK lived on, however.

Hugo L. Black

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Congress created a committee in 1871 to investigate the Klan, and passed the civil rights act of 1871 to help curtail the group’s activities. But years later, the KKK would infiltrate the highest levels of government. We’re referring, of course, to Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, a trial attorney from Alabama who joined the group in 1923. He was appointed to the Court in 1937, and there is no clear evidence that he ever left the KKK. Black is to the far left in this photo, standing with two other justices.

William McKinley

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President William McKinley, from Ohio, was a member of the KKK. He served in office from 1897 to 1901. McKinley is to the left here, next to his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson


The KKK had fallen out of fashion, but it became extremely popular right after World War I. President Woodrow Wilson was in office from 1913 to 1921, for the whole of the war and its immediate aftermath. He was also a member of the KKK.

Warren G. Harding


In the 1920s, the group reached its highest numbers in history with close to 4 million members. The KKK was highly influential in politics at this time. Warren G. Harding was President from 1921 to 1923, and died in office. Harding was purportedly sworn into the KKK while in the White House.

Gutzon Borglum


The artist who created Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, was an active member of the KKK. He reportedly served on one of their councils. When his involvement with the group came to light later, he publicly denounced the KKK.

Calvin Coolidge


Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, served in office from 1923 to 1929 and was an active KKK member. The KKK became much less popular in the late 1920s, as more about its violent actions became widely known. Membership went down to 40,000 by 1929, and states began passing anti-mask laws to curb KKK activity.

Harry S. Truman

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The KKK continued to operate throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and times were volatile for many African-Americans. Harry S. Truman was President from 1945 to 1953. Truman was a KKK member for about two years, but fell out with the group because he believed Roman Catholics should be allowed to be in politics.

Robert Byrd

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West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd joined the KKK in the 1940s at the age of 24. He served in the Senate for nearly six decades. The KKK experienced a brief resurgence in the 1960s, and violently opposed the Civil Rights movement. The KKK was directly responsible for the murder of several civil rights workers and attacks on activists at this time. But the glory days were over. The KKK would get weaker and weaker after this.



The KKK fractured into small splinter groups and had a membership of less than 10,000 by the 1990s. The KKK has weathered several lawsuits and arrests, not to mention laws and ordinances that prevent them from engaging in their various activities.

In a bizarre re-branding, one KKK chapter announced recently that it is accepting homosexuals, African-Americans, and Jewish people into the group. The Klan currently has between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide.

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